Friday, February 24, 2012

pollo y arroz

Have you ever seen the I Love Lucy episode when English speaking Lucy wants to cook dinner for Ricky's Spanish speaking mom? How Lucy flaps her arms, like a chicken? And then she bock bocks? Or when she pretends to eat rice, humming Asian-style, pretending to scoop rice off a plate? That that is the way Lucy tells Ricky's mom they are having chicken and rice for dinner? That with her body language, Lucy is successful in helping his mom understand?

That's Rudy's mom and I.

I speak English. She Spanish. Hand and body gestures get us through a moment. And a lot of laughing. Both in fun and feeling silly. Somewhat embarrassed.

Vilma. Rudy's mom. Is very social. Has no problem communicating. Talking about anything, and everything.

So there I was, trying to communicate, when she simply began talking. In Spanish. She was telling me this and that. As if I completely understood everything she was saying.
"Despacio," I'd tell her. "Slow down." As politely as I could manage.
Vilma would laugh. Realizing she had been talking. Very fast. Really to herself. Not to me.
And then the hand gestures would begin.

When Rudy would walk in from work, he'd see us laughing and using our hands, facial expressions, and any other parts of our bodies to get our point across. Usually, in some way, successfully. We communicated. With talking, yes. Each in our own language. But with hand gestures taking front and center stage.

To this day, that is how we communicate.

Vilma lives in Honduras. I live here. In California. So our time together is few and far between. No time to teach each other our own language.

Every time Rudy and I see that Lucy episode Chicken and Rice all we can do is laugh. Knowing exactly what the two women are feeling.  And dealing with it. With humor.

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